Carbon Nation: Is Our Inconvenient Truth a Convenient Opportunity?

Mar 9, 2011   //   by Bradley Short   //   Blog, Energy, The Environment  //  No Comments

Last week I got a chance to see Carbon Nation, a new documentary that calls itself “a climate change solutions movie that doesn’t even care if you believe in climate change.”  If you haven’t seen it yet, you should find or arrange a screening (and take a friend!).

The last big environmental movie, Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” brought environmentalism into the broad national conversation, but it was awfully negative.  Though it made some important points, it offered few solutions and was, at times, downright depressing (not to mention polarizing, rather than unifying).  Unlike An Inconvenient Truth, Carbon Nation is an upbeat film that shows the opportunities that lie in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and simple smart design.

If it doesn’t make dollars, then it doesn’t make sense

The director, Peter Byck, focuses on new technologies that are simply good ideas.  Though they are all tied to improving or protecting the environment, the key is: even without climate change, these innovations would all still make economic sense! All of these innovations improve the bottom line, protect public health, and leave the people or companies implementing them better than they were before.  Some even save lives!

Using anecdotes from high level executives, small town farmers, military leaders, and everyone in between, Byck tells a story of how sustainability can and will be the driving force behind a revitalized nation.

Aspiring to stay apolitical (and only briefly dropping into the political realm), the film reaches out to people who may be put off by traditional “treehugger” environmental messages.  Without abandoning a sense of urgency, CN makes use of examples of companies that have found innovative ways to save money and generate profits by being more efficient and environmentally friendly.  It incorporates some financial points that really get the attention of any businesspeople in the audience, too.

Carbon Nation may not be able to change everyone’s mind about environmentalism, but it does show how green initiatives can be a good business move with a relatively short return.  If nothing else, it will get people thinking about green.  So if you’re on the fence about it, or know someone who is, spend a few minutes with the film and then think about how an eco-overhaul might be the thing that your company (and our nation) needs.

Carbon Nation is currently playing in select theaters.  The DVD release is scheduled for the May 3, 2011.  Visit for more information.

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